The legs of super-veterans Derek Willis, Paul Meikle and Colin Dearman were made to work hard this week but the three players proved up to the task to record two excellent wins - in two different guises.
On Sunday at the Brotherhood Hall they represented Clacton in Division Two of the Super-Veterans Section of the Essex Inter-League and the trio recorded an excellent 8-1 win over their Chelmsford counter-parts. Willis and Dearman won both their singles whilst Meikle had a 12-10 in the fifth win over Chelmsford's Mo Hardy. In addition, they took three excellent doubles victories.
Then, on the following night, the same threesome took to the table as Walton B in Division One of the Clacton and District League and chalked up a 9-1 victory against Windsor Kestrels. Willis and Dearman again stayed unbeaten although Dearman had tight tussles before beating Colin Beaumont 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7 and Dave Martin 10-12, 11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8. The Kestrels earned fulsome praise for their determined spirit with John Harvey playing particularly well, his 13-11, 11-5, 11-8 win over Meikle in the first match of the night the only blot on the Walton copy-book.
Elsewhere, Nomads Panthers marched on at the top with a hard-fought 8-2 victory over Walton A, James Denyer and Sam Hume both taking maximum points. In a battle of the hard-bats, Denyer defeated Kevin James 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 13-15, 11-4 whilst, in another close encounter, Hume edged out Gary Young 11-9 in the decider. Young and Gavin Price won a point apiece for Walton but James failed to get on the score-sheet after losing 11-5 in the fifth to Gill Locke.
Second-placed Windsor Condors had a somewhat easier task against Lawford and came out comfortable 10-0 winners, Greg Green, Martin Hogg and Felipe Rodriguez all recording trebles.
Windsor Eagles were 7-3 winners over a Nomads Lions' team that contained two reserves. Phil Smith and Gary Cattermole remained undefeated although Cattermole struggled to overcome both Nomads' reserves, beating Ethan Lloyd 11-6 in the fifth and Jason Lloyd 12-10 in the fifth.
Three each for Alan Burgess and Oli Reynolds, and two for Kevin Pryor, saw Brotherhood C home 9-1 against a Windsor Hawks' side fielding a reserve. Three of the Brotherhood points came from matches which went the distance, Pryor beating George Berry 11-4 in the decider whilst it was 11-5, 12-14, 11-9, 11-13, 11-9 for Reynolds against Windsor skipper John Barton in the first match of the evening and 11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-8 for Burgess against the unlucky Hawks' captain in the last match of the night.
The log-jam at the top of Division Two is beginning to clear with Brotherhood H and Brotherhood D now emerging as clear promotion favourites.
This week Brotherhood H's best threesome - Stewart Murray, Grant Sharpe and Graham Parkes - won 9-1 against a Nomads Tigers' side which included a guest player. John Marshall of the Tigers played well to beat Sharpe 11-9 in the fifth and take Murray to a fifth set.
It was also 9-1 for Brotherhood D in their encounter with Brotherhood F, another side which used a guest. The 'F' team's Barry Allen beat Lee Harvey in match one but that proved to be his team's only success. Three of the 'D' team's wins went to a decider, Paul Alden and Russell Hillier against Barry Allen, and an 11-7 in the fifth victory for Harvey against Lee Allen in the closest match of the contest.
Nomads Bobcats' charge up the table continued and they moved into third place following their 9-1 success against Walton C. Jason Lloyd and Ethan Lloyd with three each, and Andrew Cawley with two, took their points. Rivhu Khan beat Cawley 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 for the Walton point.
Scott Campbell and Mark Ratcliff stayed unbeaten as Brotherhood I inflicted an 8-2 defeat on Brotherhood E, although Campbell only just got the better of Rodney Betts 8-11, 13-15, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8. Duncan Dunne picked up a point for the losers by edging out Mark Beckham 11-9 in the decider but the 'E' team will feel boosted by taking only their fourth doubles success of the season, Dunne and Cris Edwards defeating Campbell and Beckham in three-straight.
David North made a first appearance of the season for Nomads Jaguars to cover for absent players and took his three as the Jaguars beat a weakened Windsor Buzzards 8-2. Andrew North and Allen Denyer won two each for the Jaguars, Denyer enjoying a 6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7 victory over Alan Rutledge and a 6-11, 11-13, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 success over Windsor reserve Debra Found. Ray Chillingworth took the Buzzards' points.
The all-Windsor clash between the Harriers and Magpies ended predictably in a 10-0 win for the Harriers. Ferdy Rodriguez's 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 victory over Kayley Rodriguez was the only match which went to a fourth set.
In Division Three Walton D breezed past Nomads Leopards 10-0, the same score by Nomads Wildcats defeated Windsor Swallows.
Brotherhood G were 9-1 winners against Nomads Ocelots. Paul Metcalf and Rob Bright both took hat-tricks with Dominic Joannou getting the losers' consolation point. But the Ocelots came close to getting a couple more, Hunt needing all five sets to defeat Sue Lee whilst Metcalf only just got the better of Joannou 11-9 in the decider.
* The closing date for the League's Closed Championships is fast approaching with all entries needing to be received by Saturday 1st April. The Tournament takes place on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April 2017 at the Coastal Academy Sports Hall. To qualify players must have played at least seven League matches by 31st March. Entries can be made on-line to Peter White or sent by post to Tony Oswick.
Windsor Hawks 1 Brotherhood C 9;
Walton A 2 Nomads Panthers 8;
Lawford 0 Windsor Condors 10;
Nomads Lions 3 Windsor Eagles 7;
Walton B 9 Windsor Kestrels 1.
Brotherhood F 1 Brotherhood D 9;
Windsor Buzzards 2 Nomads Jaguars 8;
Brotherhood H 9 Nomads Tigers 1;
Brotherhood E 2 Brotherhood I 8;
Nomads Bobcats 9 Walton C 1;
Windsor Harriers 10 Windsor Magpies 0.
Windsor Swallows 0 Nomads Wildcats 10;
Nomads Ocelots 1 Brotherhood G 9;
Nomads Leopards 0 Walton D 10;
Brotherhood J v Nomads Lynx (score-card not yet received).
Super-Veterans : Division 2
Clacton (Willis, Meikle, Dearman) 8 Chelmsford 1